Netflix’s docuseries ‘Pepsi, Where’s My Jet?’ is a retelling of a historic David v. Goliath court battle between a young John Leonard and the titular corporation.
In 1996, during the height of the Cola Wars, PepsiCo came out with a dank new commercial that promoted its loyalty program ‘Pepsi Stuff’.
This program entailed an offer where the customers could earn and aggregate Pepsi Points upon buying certain Pepsi packages. They could then redeem these points and buy anything ranging from cool shades to a jean jacket and mountain bikes.
The 1996 ad went beyond the premium offerings that entailed the aforementioned products, featuring a Harrier Jump Jet as one of the premium stuff one could get their hands on for a total of 7 million Pepsi Points.
A young and ambitious John Leonard eventually watched the ad and saw an opportunity to do something big for the first time in his life. The offer was straightforward and direct, and many others had already been grinding to collect enough Pepsi Points.
Leonard tried aggregating the points by purchasing the packages and drinking them all up with the help of his family. However, he and his family soon realised that attempting to finish the challenge this way would render it impossible.
Thankfully, Leonard was friends with a fellow mountain climber and a free spirit adventurist Todd Hoffman. Along with being a radically nomadic and adrenaline-driven soul, Hoffman was also a successful businessman.
Leonard pitched him the idea and presented a business plan for buying all the packages, with the whole ordeal standing to cost them over $4 million. Hoffman eventually gave up on the idea as there were quite a number of risks involved.
However, when Leonard discovered they could collect the required amount of Pepsi Points for about $700,000, Hoffman agreed and wrote a check.
They sent the mail to Pepsi, and the executives all thought this was either a money extortion effort or a facetious little stunt that didn’t deserve any serious attention or concerns.
Feeling duped by the company, Leonard and Hoffman decided to move to court lawyer up. After a series of positive developments and disappointing delays, the case was finally heard in New York.
Unfortunately for the two men, the judge ruled in the favour of the corporation, despite what the docuseries claims to have been a significant consensus among the general public as well as the practitioners and students of law that favoured the Goliath in the case.
Leonard v. PepsiCo would go on to become a part of the lawbooks and a critical case in understanding the boundaries of the contracts law.
Pepsi, Where’s My Jet? is a truly refreshing docuseries that exhibits the same kind of adrenaline rush as its visual aesthetic as was the trend back in the Cola Wars advertising days.
The dramatic representations used in the docuseries are brilliant, oozing with a creative spunk and spark that never really fizzles out.
The use of music in the docuseries beats many contemporary big-budget fictional works streaming on Netflix.
As brilliantly frenetic and kinetic the editing and visuals are in ‘Pepsi, Where’s My Jet?’, the runtime could’ve been curtailed a bit.
The docuseries runs for a total of four episodes when a more concise and crisp 3-episode run could’ve been way better.
‘Pepsi, Where’s My Jet?’ is a creative explosion of archival footage, interviews, staged visuals, dramatic representations, and animations.
However, the area that the docuseries really shines in is the David v. Goliath battle that resides at the heart of this retelling, and it does with great empathy for the underdog and great bravado against the mega-corporation.
Pepsi, Where's My Jet?
Director: Andrew Renzi
Date Created: 2022-11-17 13:30